Gears and Grapes help you to sip and cycle

I quite like the concept of sipping wines at the cellar door then cycling to the next winery so that you need to sip again to get your strength back.

Gears and Grapes Getaways Inc is a San Francisco-based travel company which arranges cycling and wine tasting tours of California’s three best wine growing regions: Napa Valley, The Russian River Valley and Dry Creek Valley.

They have a number of tours, from one day tours to weekend tours, and on each tour you are accompanied by wine expert and sommelier guides, and a vehicle with the bikes.

Yes, you don’t have to ride all the way from San Francisco to the wine regions, you simply hop onto the bikes when you get there and ride between wineries, which usually range from between three to six miles.  If the bikes aren’t an attraction for you, then you can ride in the support vehicle, but the idea of these itineraries is to connect with the wine country by riding through it at a leisurely pace.  Not only do you ride through very picturesque countryside, but camaraderie usually develops among the group, making the riding part of the trip a very pleasurable experience indeed.

Of course, there is no need to describe the pleasure you enjoy from tasting some of California’s landmark wines.    

The intention of these tours is not to encourage participants to over indulge in the nectar of the grape, but simply to savour these fine wines.  Also, to purchase some favourite wines to take back with you.  Don’t worry, you are not expected to balance them on your handle bars, as your purchase can be placed in the bus for safe keeping.

A picnic lunch is included on the day tour, and this is usually taken during the visit to the second winery.  For the day tour, participants usually visit four wineries so, depending on which tour you choose, total cycling is between 12 and 16 miles, but that is spread over several hours with long stops between.  The cycling is intended to be as pleasurable as the tasting; it is not meant to be a precursor to racing in the Tour de France.

For the day trip Gears and Grapes Getaways normally leaves at about 9am and returns to San Francisco at about 6pm, so it is a full day (pardon the pun!).  The do pick-ups around the San Francisco area, and would obviously drop you off at the same place (it’s worth mentioning – passengers may not be as clear headed as when they left).

Great wines, tasty food, good company, a bit of easy exercise and no need to drive equates to a terrific time, I reckon.  The Gears and Grapes Getaways are going on my “must do” list.

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